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Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Magnifier / Light Combo for Needlework – A Review

 

Amazon

For many of us, it’s inevitable. We hit 40, and our eyesight changes. And for those of us who love needlework, this can be problematic.

I’ve written about magnification options for needlework many times here on Needle ‘n Thread. Today, I’m going to review a magnifier I recently purchased solely in order to answer your questions about it.

As an embroiderer who has had Really Bad Eyesight all my life, this is a topic that’s near and dear to me – having the right tools that allow us to pursue the things we love to do.

Brightech Magnifier Light Combo Review on Needle 'n Thread

The magnifier I’m going to show you today is this Brightech gooseneck floor stand magnifier & light combo with a 5 diopter glass lens, providing 2.25x magnification.

When I need magnification, I can work with 1.75x magnification. I purchased the 2.25 so that I could make some comparisons and see how much of a difference that extra .5x makes.

If you’re just noticing that you might need a little boost with a magnifier to be able to see your needlework, chances are, you can get away with 1.75x magnification. The 2.25x might be overkill. Brightech makes this magnifier in both strengths.

Brightech Magnifier Light Combo Review on Needle 'n Thread

There are a few things I wanted to find out about the Brightech magnifiers. I receive many questions about them, but until now, I had never tried one. Trying one would allow me to answer people’s questions better.

These are the questions I had in my head when I ordered the thing:

1. Does the lens provide a large enough magnified space, and is it clear and easy to see through?

2. How’s the light?

3. Is the whole apparatus well made and sturdy?

4. Is the whole apparatus easy to manipulate and move, so that it can be positioned comfortably for use in different situations?

5. Is it transportable?

6. Is it a good value for the price?

Lens Size, Clarity, and Light

When looking at photos of this particular magnifier, you might notice that the glass is green. At first, I thought this was a photographic enhancement, just to focus attention on the lens.

Brightech Magnifier Light Combo Review on Needle 'n Thread

In fact, the glass is green. But it’s not a green that you notice when you’re using the magnifier.

The lens is glass, so it isn’t prone as much to the scratches that develop with plastic lens magnifiers – and that’s a good thing.

However, glass has other drawbacks. For one thing, it is heavy! For another, the higher the magnification, the thicker the glass is and the more “warp” you get on the edges of the lens.

This lens is a fairly good size, though, and it provides good coverage of a decent area to work. The light is excellent – bright and vivid, so that colors are clear.

Brightech Magnifier Light Combo Review on Needle 'n Thread

If your head is positioned above the lens, you get a good magnified view. If you start to slide your head to the sides, the distortion from the sides of the lens becomes more evident. This is typical in most similar magnifiers.

With the gooseneck, you can adjust the position of the magnifier in myriad ways. You can also rotate the magnifier and light head forward away from you and back towards you on the axis where the magnifier connects to the gooseneck. This is a nice feature, as it allows you to move the magnifier to a vertical position and back to a horizontal position (or anywhere in between) quite easily. It also puts less wear on the gooseneck.

Construction & Portability

Good golly, the whole apparatus is a tank.

Brightech Magnifier Light Combo Review on Needle 'n Thread

The gooseneck is strangely industrial. It is Hefty. I don’t know if that means it will last longer as a gooseneck (because sometimes, goosenecks lose their goose-neckiness very easily), but it seems like it should last longer! It feels like a factory-industrial-mega-strong-gooseneck.

And while that’s nice – while it seems to indicate a certain guaranteed longevity – it has its downside. It is heavy and tight. Manipulating the gooseneck requires a bit of elbow grease. But then, once it’s in position, it’s in position – it doesn’t shift much, that’s for sure!

I think the magnifier’s stand weighs sixteen million tons. Ok, this might be a slight exaggeration, but the base is heavy. It needs to be heavy, to support the gooseneck and the weight of the magnifier (remember: the lens is glass, so it is also heavy).

The base is oval. As long as the gooseneck is either upright or, if bent, is situated over the long direction of the oval base, the whole thing stands up fine. If the gooseneck is bent and you swing the gooseneck away from you (for example, if you’re getting up from a chair or sofa, and you want to move it from in front of you) and it rotates off the oval center, the whole thing gets a bit tippy and off balance. Even though the base is super heavy, the weight of the top of the thing (the uber-industrial gooseneck + the glass lens) makes it important to keep the head aligned correctly with the base if you want the thing to remain steady and upright.

The height of the whole apparatus is adjustable. There’s a twisty neck ring on the pole, and the pole is spring loaded. When you loosen the ring, the pole moves up by virtue of the spring. To stop the upward movement, you tighten the ring at the height you want.

I would not call this thing transportable by a long shot. You can move it, sure, from room to room or chair to sofa. But it is certainly not transportable for travel.

Brightech Magnifier Light Combo Review on Needle 'n Thread

In Short, Pros & Cons

Pros:

The light is good and bright.

The lens provides a crystal clear view when looking through it directly at your work.

The size of the magnified work space is decent. It isn’t huge, but it’s decent. There is warping off to the sides of the lens, but that’s fairly normal with this size glass lens.

The magnifier and light head can be turned forward and backward to adjust from a horizontal to vertical position easily, without involving the gooseneck.

The gooseneck seems made to last. It is strong and heavy.

The pole is height-adjustable and easy to manipulate in height, thanks to the spring action.

The base is heavy and supports the rest of the apparatus, as long as things are lined up correctly.

The whole thing is easy to assemble. It comes with the allen wrench required, which is in a little case that you can clip to the cord so you don’t lose it.

It’s affordable, at less than $70 for this particular magnifier (2.25x). The 1.75x magnifier is less than $90. I suppose this is because the 1.75x is more popular.

Cons:

The thing is heavy. I was surprised at the weight of the whole stand. If you have a specific work area, this might not be a problem. It might be an advantage. If you move from place to place to stitch, you might find the whole thing cumbersome.

Some folks might consider the warp factor on the sids of the lens problematic. If you move your head a lot from side to side, without moving your work, it could perhaps make you a little sea sick. This is something you normally get used to, though.

The gooseneck is very strong and tight, requiring quite a bit of effort to manipulate it. Once you have it where you want it, it’s fine, but it takes some work to get it there!

There’s no battery option for this. It is a cord-only magnifier and light combo. But you would not be toting it to class, anyway, as it isn’t exactly portable!

Yes or No?

The selling points for me on the Brightech would be the affordability, the availability, and the stability (if I plan to keep it at a specific stitching spot). For the price, I find this magnifier / light combo to be a decent option. Is it the best out there? Perhaps not, but I like it! The price difference between this magnifier and other magnifier / light combos makes it a good option for those who want magnification but don’t like the higher price tags on other brands.

Where to Find It

You can find this particular magnifier and light combination available in the US through Amazon. You’ll find it listed here at the top of my Amazon Recommendations page. You can choose the strength of magnification on the individual product listing.

You can find more information and reviews of different lighting and magnification options on Needle ‘n Thread by exploring the articles in this list.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!

This article contains an affiliate link to my Amazon Recommendations page, which means that Needle ‘n Thread receives a small commission for any purchases made through that link at no extra expense to you. Every little bit helps keep the website going! Thanks!

 
 

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(31) Comments

  1. Hi Mary, I will be 72 in July—–eeeek, how did that happen? I have worn glasses since the age of 10 (very near sighted) but have been able to see 20/20 with bifocals up to 4 years ago when cataracts became an issue. I just can’t seem to make a magnifier work with my bifocals. I told the doctor I just wanted my sight to be able to go back to 20/20 with my glasses, nothing fancy I just want to see my needlework. Last week I had my first eye done and will have the second one done next week. Our son just sent me an Ott floor lamp for Mother’s Day, can’t wait to see up close again with both eyes.

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  2. Dear Mary

    The Brightech gooseneck floor stand magnifier seems a very strong light which is great for people with eyesight problems like me. Even though I have the Purelight magnifier, the light is not strong enough for me any more I need something stronger, but as I searched for the Brightech in the UK the only place I could find it is from Amazon UK but it is currently unavailable. I like the Purelight magnifier because it has a desk attachment which I can take to my stitching and knitting group, But the above Brightech light doesn’t seem to have an attachment and seems to heavy to travel with, which is a shame. Apart from these disadvantages it would be a great light. Thanks for reviewing the Brightech floor magnifier for us and for your views on it. I hope you have a great weekend.

    Regards Anita Simmance

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  3. I bought this bright tech magnifying lamp:

    It’s a swing arm style, also built like a tank! The base weighs a ton, but I couldn’t be happier with it!

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  4. I have a question about the light bulb. Is it replaceable? If not what is the life of the bulb? I have found the new things like the wafer thin light boxes do not have a replaceable bulb so when it burns out you throw it away. Personally if I pay that kind of monies I want it to last.

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  5. Thank you for the information. After trying many different types of lights for quilting and embroidery I finally got a CraftOptics magnifier. A quilting friend from Ireland had purchased it several years ago, and while very expensive, has by far been the best investment I could have made to provide the magnification and lighting.

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  6. I have had one of these light magnifiers for well over a year and would not trade it for the world. I like the fact that it’s heavy and solid, Once it’s set, it stays put.

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  7. Thanks for this review. I have been hearing that embroidery conferences are no longer going to provide electrical outlets for lamps as conference centers are charging megabucks for them. Could you do a review of battery operated and rechargeable lamps sometime between now and then (sooner rather than later, to give us time to shop, wait for sales, etc.)? One factor to consider would be size, for those of us who may be flying to a conference. Thanks!

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  8. I have this light and I love it for all the reasons listed here. That said, it is heavier than it looks like it should be and it can be tippy if you swing the light head at more than a 90 degree angle from the base. Positioning it in a way that allows you to work and move it out of the way to get up can take some trial and error.

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  9. I love my Dubliner Brightech light. Yes, I am old,(never mind how old, let’s just say it’s been years since I have been “carded” when purchasing a drink) and have old eyes. Brightech light has been a Godsend. I am a cross stitcher and while 40 count linen is now out of the question Brightech allows me to continue to work on 36 count and lower.
    A few years ago I bought another brand of floor model lighted magnifier.which, It is lighter in weight – can and has toppled over. It has a plastic lens which has scratched and the goose neck isn’t well attached to the unit. Brghtech is sturdy and appears to be very well constructed and the really good news is the Brightech was at least 20 % less than the first one I bought. I may buy a second Brightech for my second stitching room.

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  10. I have 2 Brightech lights and absolutely love them. I have the Lightview Table Flex 2-n-1, which I use when I travel or attach it to my sewing table when I am sewing. On Amazon it is $45. The led lights are fantastic. This light converts from being in a base that you can set on a flat surface or you can switch out the base for the spring loaded clamp. The base and the clamp are included. The neck on this light is a little over 13″ long, including the light itself it reaches to 20″. This is the longest neck and reach I have seen on a clamp-on light. The other Brightech light I have is Lightview Pro 2-n-1 Dimmable light. The color of the light, from cool to warm, and the brightness are both adjustable, which I have not seen in any other led lamp. This is also convertible as it can be a floor light or a table light, depending on what base you use. Both bases come with the light.On Amazon it is $70. Yes, it is heavy, but it is so adjustable that I rarely have any need to move it. I have recommended these to numerous people and they all love them They are by far the best lights I have ever used. Again, on Amazon the small light is $45 and the large light is $70. Buy either one and you are getting 2 lights, buy both and you have 4 lights. I was so impressed I have one set at home and one set at our cabin.

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  11. Hi Mary, I have written you a few times but not for quite some time. I always enjoy the info you give and love the videos.
    I am visually impaired. I mostly use rather high power magnifying glasses, not sold in a store. But for a while I did use a stand magnifier more powerful than yours you are showing. They are very nice mainly gotten from Low vision clinic ophthalmologists. . It could also be used at the sewing machine to help see the stitches since it is bendable.
    One thing to consider, I made a silhouette quilt that took me a long time to make. Light on fabrics and threads can lighten the color. I’m pretty sure it did that to my quilt I was working on. If you put a piece of fabric in the sun it does the same thing.
    This light is probably not as powerful as the one I have. But if used a lot, you might test it and see if your colors may fade a bit. Just something to know about. I also liked to work in the natural light outside on my porch. I think there is a spray that can be used on fabrics to keep them from fading in the sun. Maybe I can find it and send you that info.
    Jane King Happy stitching

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  12. Does the package give a weight for the product? My husband built me a light/magnifier combo (they are separate items but attached to one base). He used the base and pole of a used floor light from a thrift shop. Even that base is pretty heavy and awkward to move at times. Interested in knowing how much this item weighs.

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  13. Is there a choice option for an acrylic/plastic instead of glass? Home use may not be as
    exposed to scratches as office/industrial settings, and the lighter head would make it more stable. For years I used an acrylic lens fastened to a drafting board, and it worked fine. I like the extra magnification. Thanks for the review.

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  14. I have a different model (Lightech Pro dimmable LED/magnifier floor lamp) by BrightTech and love it. Mine doesn’t have the gooseneck but it’s pretty flexible. I love the LED lights since they don’t get hot like my old Daylight floor lamp model. I believe my magnifier changes with how close you are to the work up to 225%-it’s not fixed. It has a large oval glass. My readers are 2.75 When I sew I position it behind the sewing machine to brighten the work area. My sewing machine has a halogen light that is not efficient and burns out quickly. I love that my magnifier has a cover over it. I was watching a You Tube video and the lady left her magnifier by her stitching chair and when she came through in the evening her chair was smoldering!!! How scary! She now puts a towel over it since it doesn’t have a cover. Yes, they are hefty and I’m glad. The wheels roll very nicely though. I have a small battery operated LED light for travel.

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    1. This very thing happened to me only it was outside next to my little art studio. I had a flower window box that has a decorative glass ball in it on one side. The sun had caught the coir matting on the window box on fire and it traveled up the wall. Luckily I saw it in time and was able to put it out. I have a magnifying glass attached to my craft light indoors and I keep a cotton bag over it for this reason. Scary!

    2. Yes, Sharon Waller……I don’t think it’s something most people think about and thought I should mention it. I’m glad I seen that mentioned on You Tube.

  15. I’m really enjoying a smaller Brightech magnifier/lamp — one that you have on your amazon recommendations (27$) — with a clamp for tables, floor stands, etc. It’s adequate for my needs, and portable. (Thank you for the recommendation!)

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  16. If you work on a table, Harbor Freight sells a smaller tabletop magnifier/light for around $30 that I find quite bright and adjustable enough to work nicely for me. It weighs very little and folds up nicely to travel along in a tote bag. Just another possible tool to help…..
    Best Wishes,
    Jan

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  17. Mary, I have several of the Brighttech lights. Before I forget, they do have not only a decent warranty but if you register it that is extended to 5 yrs. I have one that has the flat base with an arm that isn’t a gooseneck, the lens has a cover, and the flat base has a wire extension the comes out to stabilize the whole thing because yes, it is VERY heavy! The light has warm and cool adjustments, can be brightened and/or dimmed. I use it with my large floor scroll stand. I do like it. It is a bit hard to move but I just position it where I want it and it really doesn’t have to be moved again generally so that hasn’t been much of a problem. I also have the smaller versions (I posted one of the FB Needle N Thread page) which either can clip on or a table version. I prefer the clip on as it turns out. I purchased one that had the “choice” thinking I could move it back and forth easier for my painting. But I shouldn’t have bothered about that. I love the small ones for clipping on my lap stands and my small floor stand that I work my art work mixed media (with needlework) on. They are much cheaper. I am going to try and email you somehow as I have something I would like to mention but don’t think this is the right place. I do love them, the price was great, and I ended up purchasing (obviously) several once I found how much I liked them.

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  18. Hi Mary, thank you so much for the review! I’ve been thinking about investing in a magnifier and this one seems very good. I’m not really sure which magnification strength Id prefer. How did you find the 2.25 magnification versus the 1.75 – much of a difference? I’m thinking I’d go with the 2.25, but maybe more isn’t better! Thanks!

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  19. I do use these Brightech lights (the clamp on ones), and I like them, but is there a recommendation for a good battery operated one for class? I have a couple that are just not bright enough, and I am looking for a better one, given the new upcoming requirements for EGA seminars.

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  20. Hi,
    I purchased this product about a year ago. Mary, your review is spot on! I love it. For the price and for my use it is exactly what I was looking for. It’s permanently in my sewing/embroidery room so the weight is not an issue. It is also one of the few good quality magnifier light combos that ship to Canada via Amazon.ca. Which means decent exchange and shipping. Often the things you review can be shipped but the cost is prohibitive or not available so I try to find a Canadian source, which isn’t always possible. I really appreciate all your tips and insights and your impeccable embroidery skill! Thanks.

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  21. I appreciate your excellent review! I have to admit that my eyes are the best part of this nearly 80 year old frame. I have never used magnification and probably won’t need it for what I do.
    Hope your mom is doing well. Happy Easter to you and your family.
    I treasure your emails and I wouldn’t miss reading each one.

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  22. A stand on the floor is a little too large for me to use.

    I also have had vision problems, in my case I have worn distance glasses since I was 7 – almost 60 years ago – which gradually increased in adjustment until I was in my 20s or 30s. I had found that to reverse the effect of the distance glasses, which make things appear smaller than they are, I needed to take off my eyeglasses to see to stitch or read comfortably.

    As I aged further I ended up with progressive lenses as I needed reading glasses also, as well as prescription reading glasses. (I now own oh so many pairs of eyeglasses in distance, progressive, reading -with or without sunglass coloring, as well as for modern, 18th century and 19 century frames.

    I still find it better to take off my eyeglasses for reading and stitching.

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  23. I have this lamp, too. I love it. I could not see well enough to thread my machine needle, let alone an embroidery needle. What a difference with this lamp. Extremely helpful when having to pick out threads. It has sure made all my sewing and stitching so much easier and reading, too. The difference is amazing.

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  24. Mary, I just saw your review of the dry iron you bought. I’ve had really good luck with the Continental iron and if they stop making it I’m going to be some upset. I go though about 1 a year and I use it every day for quilting. If you find something that works, let us know, please.

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    1. Hi, Cindy – I’ve used Continental irons, too – but it only takes about 6 months for the cord connection to go awry on those, and I always end up with sparks coming out of the base of the iron. It’s a bit odd to have to replace an iron every 6 months. Oster makes a dry iron, too, but, although it is heavier than the Continental, it is significantly smaller and it doesn’t get very hot. I don’t like it at all. I’m going to probably order yet another Continental iron to get me through the next few months, until I can figure out a better solution. Even the best steam irons don’t work the same way – even if they get hot, unless they’re using steam, they just don’t iron as well, it seems!

  25. Hi Mary,
    I have terrible eyesight myself and I hate using a magnifying glass because I feel as though I’m embroidering through a window. I end up taking off my glasses and peering two inches above my work, which really hurts my neck. I was lamenting this to my eye doctor a couple of months ago and she had a solution. She handed me a card with writing on it and began to adjust the lenses in that eye lenses thingy until I could see the fine print. She put my pupillary distance closer together since I’ll be looking down at my work. I sent the prescription to Warby Parker, and for $1oo I got back a cute pair of supercharged craft glasses. They are amazing! I can even thread a single silk thread into a small needle. And Warby Parker in turn donates a pair of glasses to someone in need.
    It’s changed my whole crafting life. No more sore neck and shoulders.
    Sharon

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